Eight out of ten back segregated cycle lanes in Edinburgh survey

80% of Edinburgh residents backed segregated cycle ways, like this one on Leith Walk
80% of Edinburgh residents backed segregated cycle ways, like this one on Leith Walk
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EIGHT out of ten Edinburgh residents are in favour of building more segregated cycle lanes in the Capital, according to the findings of a new survey.

A sample of more than 1100 road users found 80 per cent were in favour of the idea, while three quarters (75 per cent) said they would like more to be spent on cycling.

The findings, published by cycling charity Sustrans, form part of its Bike Life project, which looks to report every two years on cycling progress across seven major UK cities.

They reveal some 15.3 million trips were made by bike in Edinburgh in the past year and that 63 per cent of respondents felt getting more people out on two wheels would make the city a better place in which to live and work.

The survey was conducted by independent research and polling company ICM, with respondents comprising a cross section of the Edinburgh population. Sustrans’ own research and monitoring team then analysed the findings.

John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland national director, said: “The message from the Edinburgh Bike Life survey is absolutely clear: the Capital’s 
residents want to see more people choosing to travel by bike.”

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said the report made for “interesting reading”, adding: “It’s clear from the survey feedback that more and more people see cycling has an important part to play in getting around Edinburgh.

“We intend to fully take the results on board as we plan for the future of transport in our city.”

It comes just months after two key cycling projects – one linking the Meadows to George Street and another from Roseburn to Edinburgh Park – were awarded £12 million in funds in a major design competition.

The council has previously committed to set aside ten per cent of its 2017/18 transport budget for active travel.

Neil Greig, head of policy for Scotland at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, was not surprised by the support for segregated lanes.

He said: “They are right in that the only way we can have totally safe cycling in Scotland is to have segregated facilities.

“If you look at the countries which have larger numbers of people cycling they do have segregated facilities.

“The point we make is that this change is coming but it will take time. It didn’t happen overnight in Holland and Denmark – it took them several decades to get where they are.”

Tory transport spokesman Nick Cook agreed that the benefits of segregated lanes were recognised by many.

But he added: “The challenge in Edinburgh – which city politicians must face up to – is being realistic about the ability to deliver segregated lanes in such a dense urban environment.

“While I appreciate some wish greater investment in cycling, the council continues to fail to effectively maintain our existing road infrastructure, with the Capital’s potholes posing particular danger to cyclists.

“If the council is serious about supporting cyclists, it should first smarten up its efforts to fix our pothole-laden streets.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk